Gary Booysen. Picture: SUPPLIED
Gary Booysen. Picture: SUPPLIED

We analyse Gary Booysen, portfolio manager at Rand Swiss.

If someone came to you tomorrow with R100m to invest in just one company, which would it be?

Rand Swiss, if I could choose private equity, PSG if I were investing on the local exchange, and most likely Amazon if I had an international universe.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Talent is a loaded word. Most hard work is mistaken for talent. If we’re talking typical, "talent show" talent, I’d love to be able to sing. Unfortunately, no matter how much "hard work" I put in, I suspect I will always sound like a bag of cats, peeling paint off the walls.

What was your first job?

I suppose the title for the first time I earned money independently would be "travelling painter"; for the first time I had a boss, a single, very frustrating day of "stock take".

What’s your biggest regret?

Mistakes shape a person, so it’s difficult to regret the idiocy that helped get me through my formative years. Still, I do wish I’d worked harder, pushed further and created more — and, certainly, left less carnage in my wake.

What was your worst investment mistake?

When I was six years old I traded a R20 note for a $20 note — Zimbabwean. I like to think my decision making has improved since then. In my investment career, it was not being more aggressive in late 2009 and early 2010 when ultra-accommodative international monetary policy had driven interest rates to nothing. Cheap capital and even cheaper stocks. In hindsight, it was a beautiful time to be an aggressive investor. Oh, and dumping a small geared SABMiller position 20 minutes before the AB InBev merger was announced.

What’s the best investment you’ve ever made?

In business, it’s been the investment in smart, honest and reliable people who continue to amaze me every day. In stocks, Naspers has most likely accounted for the majority of local outperformance.

Apple or Samsung (or Nokia)? Nokia — you’ve got to love retro! No, really, it has to be Samsung. There are too many limitations on the Apple operating system. The flexibility and adaptability of Android architecture make Samsung a clear winner.

If you found a lottery ticket tomorrow that had won US$100m, what would you do?

A back-flip. With R1.3bn in unmandated seed capital you could have an almost immediate, dramatic and incredibly positive impact on the world around you. No doubt part of it would go to expanding and funding local technology hubs.

What’s your favourite song?

Right now, any finger-style guitar piece by Sungha Jung.

What is your greatest extravagance?

A good night’s sleep? I actually lead a pretty spartan life ... probably using Uber Black instead of Uber X. Okay, I’ll be honest, I’ve never actually done that.

Name a place you’ve been to that lived up to the hype.

Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia.

On what occasions do you lie?

When my wife asks: "Do these jeans make me look fat?"

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